37 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 556 LONDON, 9 August 1941, 12.05 a.m.

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET PERSONAL

Your telegram 513 of 7th August, 1941. [1]

Following for the Prime Minister.

1. Your telegram 456 was immediately referred by telegram to the Commander in Chief, Middle East, with the direction that the views of His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia should be given full and sympathetic consideration. The proposals raised therein together with the additional points in your telegram 513 have now been discussed with General Auchinleck who recently came to London for consultation and returns very shortly to the Middle East.

2. We entirely agree in principle that the Australian Imperial Forces should be concentrated into one force as soon as possible, and General Auchinleck has undertaken to see to this immediately on his return. He does not anticipate any difficulty except in regard to the garrison of Tobruk. He is as anxious as you in this connection to relieve this garrison.

1 On file AA : A1608, E45/2/1, v. It requested an early reply to cablegram 456 (Document 10)and expressed concern at reports of a decline in the health of Australian troops at Tobruk.

[AA : A1608, E45/2/1, V]